So, a little about me. Those who know me know I now tend to subscribe to the notion of proving oneself by delivering value and results, rather than listing certifications and titles. But as I reflect on a career that’s taken a very unusual route, I realize at least discussing how I came to be where I am might be really helpful for others looking at a similarly a non traditional career path.
I’ve always been interested in science, computers and technology. Over the years I worked my way from a kid hacking away on a TRS-80 and TI99/4A in the basement to an amateur “webmaster” (it was the 90s, everyone with a copy of FrontPage could call themselves that), to a helpdesk staffer, helpdesk manager, systems administrator. During this time, x86 virtualization really started coming into its own, and I while I finished college coursework, I was captivated by all the cool stuff VMware was doing in the world. Eventually, I did my graduate thesis on virtual infrastructure and remote learning environments. Even before VMotion was invented, I had cobbled tougher a few copies of VMware GSX on OpenSSI-enabled Linux clusters and was doing a terrible, hacky job of moving workloads around from node to node. This passion would eventually lead me to a role contracting for a US Army data center, where I became a Senior Principal responsible for all virtualization and storage technologies as well as second in command for information security.
After nearly a decade running datacenter operations, though, I realized I was ready to try something new. I’d always loved VMware and wanted to work more closely with them – a chance they were very willing to give me. So, in 2014 I joined the company as a Cloud Management Specialist for the US Public Sector, a role that let me combine my considerable experience in the Federal datacenter environment with my knowledge of virtualization to help customers solve new and exciting problems with VMware’s stack.
Once inside the company my career really started changing directions quickly. I was successful in sales, but I really wanted more technical challenges. I was eventually recruited to join the Cloud Management Business Unit, as a Staff Functional Architect for vRealize Automation. In this role, I acted as not only a product owner for vRA, but as the Platform Architect for the entire vRealize Suite. As those products grew and changed, so did my roles, and I spent a few months in the CMBU’s Customer Success organization to help customers get the most out of the solution by assisting with the most difficult implementation issues with our most strategic customers.
Then, I found my true calling. Since first joining the company I had worked closely with one of the product management directors, and she finally decided to recruit me into the fold directly. I don’t think I can ever repay this debt of mentorship or the huge risk she took doing so, but everything I’ve done since then has been to try and be a fraction of the leader she is. As a Product Line Manager, I helped design and usher vRealize Automation Cloud (formerly known as Cloud Automation Services) into being, a true production-grade SaaS Cloud Management service. The first of its kind at VMware and an amazing learning experience all around.
But, time and technology moves fast, and in 2019 I found myself joining HashiCorp to work on the fledgling Terraform Cloud offerings. I’m not a Sr. Product Manager there, working on all things Terraform Cloud and focused on advanced workflows, pipeline integrations and platform level I/O.
And that’s where we are today. I’ve had experience at every level of a product’s lifecycle, from academic researcher to administrator/user, to sales, product engineering and architecture, customer success, and ultimately product management, and I think this has given me a ton of empathy and a unique perspective, allowing me to relentlessly advocate for the customer.
Now, even though I said I’m all about outcomes – for the indexing bots I will say that I hold a B.S. In Applied Networking and Systems Administration and an M.S. in Information Technology from the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY as well as MCP, MCSA, MCSE, GSEC, VCP3, VCP5-DCV, VCA-NV, VCAP6-CMA Design, VCAP6-CMA Deploy, VCIX6-CMA, CISSP, and PMC-III certifications and have most recently completed the Reforge product management series.
What little free time I have is spent traveling the world with my partner, exploring all the gastronomic, brewtastic (I like beer) and oenophilic pleasures that California has to offer, hacking away on home automation platforms, restoring my 1981 DeLorean DMC-12 (see https://www.8bitdmc.com for more info on that!) and working with Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue to foster and adopt companion parrots in need. We currently have 7 active feathered friends joining in every aspect of our lives.
The opinions expressed on this site are solely mine and not those of my employer.
For more info, check out my LinkedIn profile. Thanks for visiting!